Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Yummy Combination

About a year or two ago, we met at the home of one of Steven's previous co workers with a few other ex co-workers.

One of the guys brought the combination of Peppered crackers, Fig Jelly Spread, and Drunken Goat Cheese. The idea was you spread the jelly on the cracker and top with a slice of cheese. I tried it and LOVED it! It was the yummiest combination.

Ever since then, I've checked for that cheese every time I've gone to Trader Joe. Never having any luck.

We were with one of those co-workers recently and she told me that the guy had bought the stuff at Bristol Farms. A store we don't have here in our area.

Last week, while we were in Newport Beach, there was a Bristol Farms not far from our hotel. So on Tuesday afternoon, we headed there and found the drunken goat cheese, fig spread, and crackers and took it back to our hotel room for a late afternoon hors d'oeuvre. It was yummy, and a rather expensive 'snack'. But hey, that's what vacations and anniversary get aways are for, right?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

One MASSIVE Yard Sale

Hannah belongs to a private girls club called "The Jesus Chicks". A friend of mine started it up over a year ago and once a month the group of 15 girls ages 9-12 meet for crafts, educational activities, all the while keeping Jesus in the center of it all.

In July, our monthly activity will be spending the night in the Shark Encounter Exhibit at SeaWorld. The tickets are $130 a person and both Hannah and myself will be going.

We had a Yard Sale this last weekend to help raise some funds. For weeks, we've been taking donations from friends and family. Last weekend, our church donated the leftovers of our rummage sale to the Jesus Chicks Yard Sale, as did the Community Center in which the rummage sale was held. We had a TON of stuff to sell.

We pulled everything out on Friday to sort and see what we had. Not really planning on making a whole lot. But we did! We made $180 on Friday. And then turned around early Saturday morning and pulled everything back out and sold again into the mid afternoon, making close to $200. Here, Lori sits in the midst of the women's and men's clothes, sorting, trying to keep it all organized. We had a ton of clothes and sold them for 50 cents a piece. We had a tarp with childrens, toddler, and babies clothes as well. We had soooo much stuff leftover. But the great news is, we packed it all up, put it back in to the garage of the house we sold at, and all that stuff will be donated to another church rummage sale this coming weekend!!! Paying it forward!

The money that was made over the course of the two days was split amongst the Moms and their daughters who worked the sale. And the great news is that between the two days of mine and Hannah working, we earned just over $100 towards our SeaWorld trip!! Whooo Hooo! I'm so glad that Yard Sale is behind us! It was a lotof work!

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Devotional to Share

A few years back, I came across a blog about a woman who had taken in her niece and nephew as the result of a tragic accident. I bookmarked the blog, and continued to come back often to keep up on on how the family was doing. Long story short, the niece and nephew are no longer with Liz and her family.

But through our blogs, and through emails back and forth to one another, Liz has become a dear Christian sister.

She wrote this devotional on her blog this past week, and I loved it so much, I had to share it.

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Landmarks
I am what you might call 'directionally challenged'. Unless you're asking me how to get out of my neighborhood or how to get to my church, there's a good chance I'll give you screwed up directions. I don't like driving long distances. Around town is one thing, but any great distance requires a navigator. Usually, one named Larry. When I give directions, I give them by landmarks. You know, go to CVS & take a left. Go down past Walmart & turn right. Please don't give me north/south/east/west directions. I'll never reach the destination.

Similar to my directional skills, I find myself going through life living by 'landmarks' as well. Those big moments or major memories that stand out....the ones that we gauge everything else by. The ones that form the timeline of our lives. Things like "ABC happened the week before grandma died." or "DEF was before we moved to the house on Main Street, but after we lived in the apartment."

It struck me this week....is today a landmark? Will my family look back & say "that happened right after XYZ." (note: XYZ=things that happened today)

We don't know if today will be our last day with our spouse or our children. We never know when a car wreck will occur or when someone will have a heart attack or when a terminal illness will strike. Will you still be alive tomorrow? Will you remember this day for the rest of your life, whether for good or bad reasons? Life is uncertain. Scripture tells us that our days are like grass (Psalm 103). We grow for a short time & then we're gone. We are not promised tomorrow.

Is today a landmark day in your life?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Singing the Joys of Priceline.com

Priceline.com totally rocks! We've used it a time or two before. We have friends who use it for all their hotel get aways, most of the time, getting four star rooms for as low as $50 a night.

We used Priceline for our anniversary vacation and scored a four star hotel in Newport Beach, across from Fashion Island, for $50 a night!! When I checked the website, a King Room was listed for $177 a night, the back of the hotel room door said the room could go for $325 a night. But we got it for $50 a night thanks to Priceline.

We ended up paying a little more once you add in the $18 a day to park, and the $10.95 internet fee, but even with those added expenses, it was still a really inexpensive nights stay at a very nice hotel. This was our room before we moved in.The hotel was HUGE. It had over 400 rooms and three very large pools. The parking was quite a bit aways from our room, so every time we came and went we walked through the beautiful grounds. It was a beautiful place to stay for a few days. And another positive experience in a four star hotel thanks to Priceline.com. If you've never used it before, I highly recommend trying it out!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Ocean

I love the ocean. It brings about a calmness and is so majestic. I was thinking the other day that a good majority of our vacations and get aways over the years are always to places where we can easily make a trip to the water, if not staying within steps of it.

The past few days we stayed at a hotel in Newport Beach. While it wasn't directly near the ocean, we did make a trip to the pier one day and drove the coast one afternoon and we were close enough to feel the sea breeze and smell the ocean air.
Newport Beach

In the last few years, we've taken up camping at a State Campground on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. We're looking forward to camping over Memorial Day Weekend and then again in July. In July, we'll have an entire week of being near the ocean and hearing the roar of the waves nightly as we sleep in our tent.
San Elijo Sunset

And then there is Pismo Beach. If you're family or a good friend, you'll know that Pismo Beach has been a family vacation spot for many, many years. Our family has been making that trek for over 20 years. Definitely holds a special place in all our memories and hearts.
Pismo Beach Pier

I could definitely go for living near the ocean. I love the smell and the sea breeze. I love that when I'm in the element of the salty sea air, my sinuses don't bother me. I'm ready to go back, who's up for a day trip??

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Our Anniversary

We've been away for a few days for our anniversary since Sunday, but today is the official day, our 14th anniversary.

Before kids, going to Disneyland was our thing, well, one of our things, and it's not very often that we go without our girls. So this afternoon, we did just that. We went to Disneyland for a few hours. We stopped off at City Hall and got anniversary buttons, which I promised Steven he did not have to wear, I just wanted the buttons and a picture and then we could put them in my purse. They're cute buttons, and the Cast Member even put the year and how many years we were celebrating. One of the unfortunate things about where our anniversary falls on the calendar is that every year it falls right in the midst of Spring Break. So the parks were very crowded today, lines were long, and there were lots of people just stopping in the middle of the walkways (you know, special people). We rode Pirates of the Caribbean, which was nice because it's been a long, long time since we've ridden it together, one of us usually has to sit out with Rachel. And we walked Disneyland and then over to California Adventure where we visited Blue Sky Cellar and got up to date on all the construction and additions coming to the park.

Steven still had his Fun Card (last years' Disney promotion, where you in to DL for free on your birthday, or passholders got a Fun Card for the amount of the cost of a one day ticket) and he bought me this Precious Moments Figurine. Precious Moments has a TON of DIsney themed figurines now, but this one is one of my favorites, the couple is sharing a Mickey Mouse Premium Ice Cream Bar. It's been one of our favorites for years. We finished off our special day with a nice dinner a Newport Beach rib joint.

It's been a great few days away celebrating our anniversary, however all good things must come to an end, and therefore tomorrow we'll be heading for home and picking up our girls from their Gramie.

Monday, March 22, 2010

BJ's for Lunch

Many, many years ago, my friend Diana introduced me to BJ's on the Balboa Peninsula. They had good pizza and a trip to BJ's was always a way to get a trip to the beach and walk the pier.

That is...until they started building BJ's all over the place. There's several in the surrounding cities in which we live and are a lot more practical than a 50 mile trip to the beach just for pizza that can be found less than 10 miles away. We had lunch today at BJ's on the Balboa Peninsula and then walked the pier. It was a nice treat!

The Blind Side

We are away for a few days for our anniversary. Not too far from home, but far enough to feel as though we are away. The girls are with their Gramie (Steven's Mom). And we are enjoying our four star hotel for cheap thanks to Priceline.com.

We finally were able to see The Blind Side last night. I didn't realize it was a true story. DUH.

What a great, great movie. It's no wonder Sandra Bullock won the best actress Oscar, she played a great part. Her role, and really the role of the entire family, should be the attitude that we as Christians should take when we see people in need of a friend, a meal, encouraging words, and in the case of 'Big Mike" a couch to sleep on.

Through a ministry at church, we've been learning a lot in recent months what it means to be the hands and feet of Jesus to people we encounter. And I think this movie was a good example of it as well.

I think because of the Oscar win, the movie has been re-released at some theaters, if you haven't seen it, I highly suggest you check it out. Or you can always just buy the DVD when it comes out tomorrow!

Friday, March 19, 2010

My Address Book

I have an address book. I've had it since we were first married and tucked away inside are names, addresses, and phone numbers of family, friends, doctors, businesses, even the address of the annoying and loud parting neighbors behind us (makes it easy to call the police and report when you have an address!).

Whenever we go on vacation, or away for a few days, I always, always take my address book. There might be an emergency whereas you need to contact the neighbors, the doctor, or you might want to drop a postcard in the mail to a friend or two. But it always comes with me.

Over the course of the last few days I've been taking the names and addresses out of my little blue book and adding them to my address book on my iPhone.Having all that information in my iPhone is not only helpful, but my phone is always with me. Having all my addresses and phone numbers with me is just another reason why i LOVE my iPhone!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring has Sprung

While the calendar says Spring is still a few days away, the weather and the trees and all the blossoming going on here in Southern California says otherwise.

The last few days have been quite warm, mid to high 80s. One day was even bordering on 90, which is too warm for me. The skies have been clear and there's a nice afternoon breeze sweeping through the late afternoons.

The girls are officially off track, but we've not been doing much of anything as Hannah has had a sore throat for a few days. I took her to our Pediatrician on Wednesday after finding out that my niece, whom the girls spent time with this past weekend, was diagnosed with strep throat. Hannah's had no fever, no spots on her throat, therefore our Pediatrician ruled it a virus and said she should be on the mend in the next day or two. We've been home all week so that she can get better, not be exposed to anything else, and hurry up and get on the mend.

With being home so much this week, I've started on some Spring cleaning. It started with wiping all the doors down with bathroom cleaner. Every door we have is a six pane door and those little ledges of the paneling are perfect for collecting dust. They've all been washed down, front and back, and all the doors in the hall look so fresh now. I also switched out the attachments on my vacuum and vacuumed all the blinds. They were so dusty you could see fingerprints on the wooden slats, but not any more! This afternoon, I hosed down the patio and then started washing windows. I'll maybe finish that tomorrow. But I'm on my way of tackling some deep cleaning that's been bugging me for months but have been too busy.

We're adjusting to the springing forward of our clocks last weekend. It's a good thing we are off track, I can't imagine having to drag the girls out of bed at 6:30 when it's relatively still gloomy and on the dark side. Staying light longer in the evenings is a welcome change and it feels as though more hours have been added to your day in order to get things done. It's time to start looking for new recipes to try on the BBQ and get in the mode of 'cooler foods'. LOL.

Another sign of Spring - our wedding anniversary! Our anniversary is next Tuesday and we'll be leaving town for a few days and I CAN NOT WAIT! The girls will be going to my Mother in Law's house Saturday afternoon and will stay with her for a few days. We thought about going to a favorite vacation destination, the Central California Coast, to The Apple Farm, but after Steven spent a night in Orange County a couple of weeks ago, we decided to go to Newport Beach. There is lots to do in Orange County and it's only an hour from home and we scored BIG on Priceline.com with the hotel.

Speaking of time change, the sun can sure throw a person off, I'm thinking I still have an hour to prepare dinner, but I don't. So it's time to go get dinner started...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

JOY on the Freeway

Today, I was on the freeway, running a quick errand before having to return to the school to pick up Rachel. I was in the slow lane, approaching my exit and noticed a car on the shoulder with its hazard lights on, and just a ways up the freeway was a woman walking towards the offramp. I threw on my hazard lights and pulled over and offered her a ride off the freeway. She accepted.

The woman appeared to be in her late 40's. Wore perfume that smelled like my mother in law and was on her way to work when all of a sudden her car just stopped, thankfully being able to pull onto the shoulder. I drove her off the freeway and to a place of business just on the other side of the fence of where she left her parked car. She had no cell phone and would now call AAA for a tow truck.

When she got out of the car she shook my hand, told me her name was 'Joy', and thanked me and said "God Bless". I told her I would pray her day would be a good one despite the car breaking down.

It was nice to help someone out that way, to show the love of Jesus in this day and age where a lot of people won't always stop to help a stranger. Today, I found JOY on the freeway! :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Thought for the Day



"God may not give you
what you want,

but He always gives
you what you need."


~ KSGN 89.7

Friday, March 5, 2010

Attendance Recognition

Sadly, despite having excellent State test scores, wonderful parent involvement, etc, our school really has a big problem with attendance, tardies, and early dismissals.

As a result, this last trimester, a new program has been created to help promote the importance of being in school, on time, everyday, for the full day. Awards and prizes will be given at each grade level.

I'm proud to say that both our girls came home with letters yesterday stating that they will be recognized at a special attendance assembly next Friday. Not only have they not missed a day of school for the trimester that just ended, but they were always on time, and were never signed out early. Their chances of winning something 'good' at the assembly are good. In Rachel's class, there were only two of the twenty that qualified, and in Hannah's class there were only three of thirty three that qualified. Sadly, I wouldn't be surprised if the numbers fell like in all the classes. It'll definitely be interesting to see just how many kids are recognized at next weeks' assemblies.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

My New Favorite Saying...

This morning, I pulled up to a signal behind a car with the following saying on her license plate:

"You May Be the Princess
But I am the Queen."


I think it's going to be my new favorite saying...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Special People

Do you ever encounter 'special people' through out your day? You know, the types of people who don't think that the rules, or laws, apply to them?

I come across 'special people' frequently through out the week, and unfortunately, I even know some kids who could fall into this category.

Here's an example of special people...

School dismissal in the afternoons are crazy. You have 750+ students getting out out of school with about 1/4 of those kids getting picked up by parents, day care providers, grandparents, etc. The parking in the front of the school is minimal and crazy, therefore I pick Hannah up on the backside of the school, which is less crazier than the front, but still crazy.

I get to the side street about 30 minutes before school gets out. I park in a place where I can watch the kids finishing up their school day with one last recess, and watch the kids being dismissed. I have a friend who also picks up her children on the back side and often we're in each others cars chatting and visiting, so I really don't mind the waiting. It's a chance to sit and take a break before the afternoon chaos of homework, dinner, and nightly routine starts in.

And everyday, we sit in amazement, watching as the 'special people' pull up and park on the red curb, or park crossing over the fields driveway. Or in this case, there's this car, who obviously because he's pictured above, is a routine special person, who is not only parking on the red curb in this picture, but believe it or not, he's parked on the red curb smack dab in the middle of a three-way stop intersection!!It's so frustrating to see people swoop in and park where they aren't supposed to! It's not like there's no parking available, there is. You either have to get there early and claim a good spot like I do, or simply walk a block. It's just amazing how easily breaking the law comes to people.

Now if you excuse me, I must go and get in position for my spot and watch for today's special people. :)

Thought for the Day

"If you stare too long at the door that just closed,
you'll miss the one that just opened."

~ KSGN, 89.7

Monday, March 1, 2010

This and That

The first of March. This year is just flying by. It's hard to believe that in a few weeks we'll have been married for 14 years. School is entering it's third trimester. And next month we'll have a daughter in the double digits!

Speaking of that daughter who will be soon be TEN years old, she'll be gone for her big birthday this year. Her big overnight field trip falls on the day of her birthday. The school bus will leave at 8:30 Thursday morning and won't return to school until midday the next school day. Gone for her entire birthday. What a memory to spend the night aboard a Tall Ship, acting as the crew, for her 10th birthday. It'll be the first birthday that we've been apart. The teacher only allows four parents to accompany the class on this field trip, and despite all my hard efforts of fundraising, working the classroom special events, I was not chosen to go. This is the first time that I've not been allowed to accompany her on a field trip. The first time she'll be gone overnight to a place not overseen by family, close family friends. It'll be a great experience, and I look forward to hearing all about it, sad there will be no pictures, but happy she gets to go.Last week, I made deals with each of the girls. In exchange for me buying them new Lego sets, they had to pull weeds in the side yard. I am still amazed at how well it worked out. Minimal complaining, great work done, and both parties were happy - I have some weeds pulled, they have new Legos. The even better part is that Hannah is on a kick to earn more Legos. She came home from school yesterday, did her homework, did her chores, and then went and pulled weeds for 40 minutes, without being told or asked. She's logging her minutes and is working towards another new Lego set. We'll see how long this lasts...

The girls had minimum days three days last week, which worked out perfectly for a middle of the week trip to Disneyland! It was a beautiful day, light crowds, perfect weather. Captain EO opened up just two days before we went and that was the first thing on my list to do. The theater was packed, something I've not seen in that theater for years...Both my girls loved it! I think it was the cross between the Star Wars like characters and the story being centered around a space colony, and maybe the music. But more then likely the first. But they both liked it so much they asked to see it again later in our day. It's something we'll go back and see again a few more times before it leaves, I'm sure...